Scavenger Hunt Gender Reveal

I can’t believe I’m already half-way through this pregnancy. With everything that has been going on in our lives, I have barely had time to focus on it.

Despite the busy-ness, 20 weeks came and so did the ultrasound to see if baby was healthy and, of course, whether it is a boy or a girl.

Our oldest is 4 1/2 and I really wanted the gender reveal to be special for him. On the day of the ultrasound, my husband and I dropped my son off at school and headed to the appointment. Where we discovered that everything was healthy (a very different reveal from my first pregnancy) and that the baby is a……….(you will just have to read this post to find out. :) )

My husband and I spent the rest of the day frantically getting our elaborate gender reveal together before we picked my son up from school and then we gave him his first clue:

The first scavenger hunt clue we gave to my son in the car on the way home from school.

The first scavenger hunt clue we gave to my son in the car on the way home from school.

The second clue on the front door.

The second clue on the front door.

Third clue in the bath.

Third clue in the bath.

This one was on the oven.

This one was on the oven.

The next clue was above his bed...

The next clue was above his bed…

A close up version.

A close up version.

The next clue hiding under the dining room table.

The next clue hiding under the dining room table.

Another clue behind the clock.

Another clue behind the clock.

Which led us back upstairs to find another clue and a book!

Which led us back upstairs to find another clue and a book!

The book

The book

The clue close up.

The clue close up.

The next clue by the toys. (Ignore the mess.)

The next clue by the toys. (Ignore the mess.)

Close up clue leading outside...

Close up clue leading outside…

The outside clue...

The outside clue…

baby gender reveal! 024

Leading to a tree...

Leading to a tree…

Which led to the most important clue of all...

Which led to the most important clue of all…

Hanging from the swing set was a big balloon...

Hanging from the swing set was a big balloon…

baby gender reveal! 029

baby gender reveal! 009

Here it is, the big reveal....

Here it is, the big reveal….

The confetti is BLUE!

The confetti is BLUE!

It's a BOY!

It’s a BOY!

Hurray! A baby brother!!

Hurray! A baby brother!!

After the balloon pop there were two more clues....one revealing a yummy treat,

After the balloon pop there were two more clues….one revealing a yummy treat,
Our BLUE cupcakes for a BOY!

Our BLUE cupcakes for a BOY!

And one telling our son how much we love him.

And one telling our son how much we love him.

Someone is a very excited big brother! Mommy at 20 weeks with baby number 2.

Someone is a very excited big brother! Mommy at 20 weeks with baby number 2.

Our gender reveal started as a nursery rhyme scavenger hunt, but turned more personal as I made the rhymes fit for our house and family. I LOVE the balloon pop part, which I ordered in this cute little kit from Etsy:

Balloon Pop gender reveal kit from Etsy.

Balloon Pop gender reveal kit from Etsy. It came with confetti for a boy or a girl.

I loved our gender reveal and we all had a great time going around the house searching for clues and finding out it was a BOY with the blue confetti. The cupcake part was pretty delicious, too.

What do you think of our gender reveal? Have you seen other gender reveals you just love?

I Can’t Do Anything Right

I can’t do anything right.

No, this is not a case of low self esteem or a pity party, but simply a statement of fact according to my four year old son.

I’ve been writing these sweet posts about how much I love him and how much I cherish motherhood but the truth is in the day to day over here, I’m drowning.

“Mommy my soup is too hot!” 

“Mommy, why did you put ice in my soup? I hate ice in my soup!”

“Why is my jacket inside out?”

“No, don’t touch it, I can do it!”

“Mommy! Did you close my mouthwash?”

“There is too much toothpaste on my toothbrush.”

“Read these words. You aren’t reading this story right.”

“Mommy! I said count to four like this (holds up fingers) you aren’t counting right!”

“Mommy there’s not enough ice in my drink.”

“There’s too many ice in my water.”

“Are you speeding, Mommy? If you speed you will get another ticket.”

“You sound funny. Are you trying to talk funny, Mommy?”

“I don’t like peanut butter on my sandwich!”

“Mommy it’s not a peanut butter and jelly sandwich if you don’t put peanut butter on it.”

“No, don’t put my socks on like that! I will just do it.”

“You are playing hide and seek wrong!”

“Mommy, you have brushed my hair wrong once again.”

The kid really says this stuff. I am living in a world of constant belittling. By a pint sized person.

That tends to a number on your self esteem and patience.

Don’t worry, it doesn’t just apply to me. My husband can’t do anything right, either.

Yes, we say “You can’t talk to Mommy and Daddy that way.” “Please think about your words.” “Instead of saying that, I wonder if you could try (insert more appropriate words here.)”

But at the end of the day, we can’t do anything right.

Remember when people said the terrible twos would be hard? And they lied because as it turns out three is like the age from hell? And then you thought that four would be better and it kind of was until your pint sized person decided that they already knew everything there is to know and you are no longer of relevance? (Is this just my thought process?)

I hope the grandparents keep their energy up. He’s moving in with them when he’s a teenager and I’m going to take a nice long nap. And probably mess that up, too.

 

 

 

Four and a Half

“Mommy, can you come check the temperature? It says 8 6. Well, I know I’m right about the 8,” he poses as he wiggles and tugs for my attention.

I leave my school snack making for a minute to walk with him to our thermostat, which does, in fact display an 8 and a 6.

“You’re right!” I say to a beaming four year old. “The temperature says 6-8. It is 68 degrees in our house. That’s pretty warm. And this part says 2-1. It’s only 21 degrees outside, that’s cold!”

“Aw, man, so I have to wear a jacket?” he bemoans as he stomps away.

“Yes, you have to wear a jacket when it’s cold outside,” I reply as I make my way back to school snack duty.

He grumbles as he slowly lays his jacket out on the floor and does the cool flip it over his head trick his teachers taught him at school.

“Will you zip me, Mommy?”

We fall into our usual routine of packing and zipping and shoe Velcro-ing as we make our way to the door and out into the cold.

These mornings have gotten easier, now that he’s old enough to do part of the getting ready.

As we drive to school he points out the letters on the license plates he sees in front of us.

He asks how fast I’m driving and says “Mommy, I saw the speed limit sign that said 5-4. So don’t drive any faster than 5-4.”

I assure him I won’t, knowing that this must be a translation of 45.

He discovers an 8 and a 0 and a 6 and reads the word STOP to me.

And then he tells me that he sees “many more deciduous trees than evergreen trees but Christmas trees are evergreen trees.”

When did he grow up?

This little one is so big and observant. He likes to make plans and study pictures. He seems to remember everything I say except for the parts about “please clean your room” and “stop chasing the cats.”

We are still working on letters and numbers but he sees and notices them all around him and is beginning to pick out words in our bedtime stories. It won’t be long before he is reading in the slow, focused, and melodic way all children start.

He has a strong sense of humor and loves to feel authoritative. (Sorry, cats.) He is compiling himself and his experiences into his very own version of life.

It’s a conclusion I come to over and over at various stages in his life; my sweet little boy is not so little anymore.

My sweet boy at 4 and 1/2.

My sweet boy at 4 and 1/2. (And part of my husband’s eye.) 

 

 

 

Potato IceCream

A recipe for potato ice cream as concocted and relayed to me by my four year old:

Him: “You need cheese, and onion and garlic. And probably a little sugar but not too much sugar.

And then you mix it up.

And then you have to cook it for eighty-one-hundred days!”

Me: “Wow, buddy, that’s a long time! And then when it’s done cooking what did you make?”

Him: “Potato ice cream, Mommy.”

Me: “I don’t think I’ve ever had potato ice cream before.”

Him: “Yeah, but it’s probably good but not healthy.”

Just a bit of an insight into my world with a four year old. Also? He’s going to be an amazing chef when he grows up.

Waiting and Watching

I had completed all of my errands and found myself sitting in the school parking lot. With not enough time to drive home and be back in time I parked my car and waited.

A parade of little people soon trickled out followed by the soccer coach. My dad, sister, and brother all loved soccer and I so desperately want my son to like it, too, so he’s signed up for the after school session.

I couldn’t place him; he blended in so well with all the other parent hearts disguised in preschoolers.

I watched as he ran and stretched and played what he would later describe to me as the “cape game” which was the soccer coach’s attempt at organized chaos when directing 12 four year olds with soccer balls.

I know it was him, even from far away. I recognized his outfit that we had laid out together so carefully the night before. He was so proud of his new shark shirt that lifted a flap to reveal that shark ate pizza. (It’s actually quite adorable.) I recognized the new blue corduroy pants I just bought for him and his red hair that shines brightly in the sun. I recognized his run and his attention span and his mood.

He would tell me later that he liked soccer but it made him too tired and maybe he shouldn’t go back next week.

He didn’t know I was watching from the car. He didn’t know I saw him follow directions, and run with a grin stretching from ear to ear. He didn’t know that I saw him give the cape to another friend and that I watched him stand close to the coach so he could do his stretch just right.

He didn’t see my smiling from far away as I watched him laugh and play and that watching him made my heart swoon.

I don’t always know every detail of his day, now that he’s older and growing up and has his very own piece of the world. But yesterday I got to glimpse a small part of his life. His life separate from mine; his world that he’s learning to navigate all on his own.

I was watching him and finding myself in awe of this amazing little person I get to call my child.

The First Week of School That Wasn’t

After a busy trip to the beach to celebrate my husband’s 30th birthday, followed by a week to Georgia to visit family, followed by an epic 4th birthday party for my son, it was inevitable that life would catch up with us.

image

Excited at pre-k orientation!

My son made it to his first day of school orientation where we both fell in love with his teachers and his cute classroom.

And then sickness hit.

I had woken up hours early and made muffins and painted a chalkboard sign for my son’s first day of school. I was so looking forward to some downtime from all of the craziness and quiet solitude as my husband returned to work and my son started his first day of pre-kindergarten. (Also? How is he old enough for pre-k??)

Our first day of school was instead spent in bed after my son threw up all over the couch. Thank goodness for removable and washable cushion covers.

His four year old check up was that afternoon but by then he seemed fine, just a bit tired. Everything checked out well with the doctor and my son came in at a healthy 37.5 pounds and 3.5 feet.

I was hoping for a recovery the next day but instead he woke up with a 102.2 degree fever. My poor little guy and I spent the whole day cuddling on the couch.

By the last day of his four day school week he felt good enough to go and was actually ready to get out of the house. And probably ready for a break from Mommy.

image

Cutest First Day of Pre-K picture ever.

He did have a great first day at school and how adorable is his first day of school picture??

His teacher is incredibly organized and communicative and has some adorable ideas for the school year. I think this is going to be his best year yet and I am so relieved to know we made the right choice despite all of my insecurities about school this spring.

To continue our crazy pace I had auditions for a Christmas production this weekend and worked my very first event for Richmondmom.com. This week was a bit more normal but after summer and all of our traveling I still have not caught up on laundry! (Or sleep. I’m never caught up on sleep.)

We ended this week of my son’s school with a very special treat; Disney on Ice! You can see my review on Richmondmom.com.

I think things are going to slow down…for a few days anyway, before all of the excitement of fall kicks in. :)

How has your fall gotten started?

 

The Fourth Birthday Party: Ninja Turtle Style

tmnt birthday collage

I love birthdays. I love planning them, celebrating them, and building up to them. This year was my husband’s 30th birthday and my son’s 4th. In all honesty, my husband’s birthday has largely been overlooked since the birth of our son, but the big 3-0 was something not to be missed. We celebrated with a sibling beach trip, followed by a trip to GA to visit family, followed by my son’s 4th birthday party. I was really thinking I would go more low key for my son’s party this year, but as it turns out, that’s just not my style.

My sweet little boy has gotten really into the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which I hate because it’s just so BOYISH and rough. I was not allowed to watch that show when I was little and I am not completely in love with the idea of my son watching it. But as it turns out, I am not his only parent, and the ninja turtles were childhood favorites of my husband’s.

Enter the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle 4th Birthday Party. (Which actually was adorable and a lot of fun!)

Invitation: 

This year I went for simplicity and just did an evite:

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Invitation

Games: 

The main event this year: a teenage mutant ninja turtle moonbounce. Perhaps a bit extravagant for a 4 year old’s birthday party, but oh so much fun! The company we worked with was great and it was so nice to have entertainment for the kids (and adults) built in instead of coming up with a lot of home made party games as I’ve done in the past.

The kids also played on our swing and slide play set in the back yard and I had a bubble machine running and lots of green balloons they could play with in the yard or the moonbounce.

ninja turtle moonbounce and bubbles

Decor: 

This year, I kept the decor simple. A few party essentials from Target like Ninja Turtle plates, cups, napkins, tablecloth and a banner made decorating easy.

I ordered two shades of green balloons and grouped them into sets of four, hanging them in the front yard, back yard, and in the dining room. I taped on printable ninja turtle masks purchased from Etsy.

A few chalk drawings and we were all set!

tmnt party decor

Food: 

Mmm, one of my favorite parts. His party was at 4:00 (because he was turning 4 years old) so we were ready for dinner. Everyone knows that the ninja turtles love pizza, so 3 large pizzas from Mellow Mushroom, a few dozen pretzels and a salad were our staples. We had juice boxes and water for the kids and beer and wine in ice buckets outside for the adults.

I also made “turtle ooze”: green, lime flavored jello cut into the shape of a four.

(No pizza pictures…but it was so good!)

jello turtle ooze

The Cake: 

I love the way his cake turned out! I ordered the cake with specific colors from a local bakery and added the turtle heads and sewer cross hatches at home.

teenage mutant ninja turtle cake

Probably my favorite picture of the night

Probably my favorite picture of the night

Favors: 

Target made party favors easy. Everyone got a plastic cup, bubbles, a pen, stickers, and ninja turtle tattoos.

ninja turtle favors

Outfits: 

Last year for the yellow birthday party we asked all of our guests to wear yellow. This year there was no outfit requirement, but my son did have a ninja turtle shirt.

family picture tmnt party

Me and my birthday boy

Me and my birthday boy

I love the way his birthday party turned out! Who knew the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles knew how to party?

Want to see more?

Check out the First Birthday Party: Blue and Green and Cupcakes

The Second Birthday Party: Curious George

The Third Birthday Party: A Yellow Party

*Updated September 26th, 2013: I am so honored to have received the “Best Decorations” badge from Party Pail.com for this party! I had so much fun putting it together and am so excited to know that other people liked it, too!*

Party Pail

Four

“Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday Dear Noah, Happy Birthday to you,”

I sang softly into his ear as I rubbed his back.

We were waking up in an unfamiliar but extremely comfortable bed at the beach for a combination celebration of his 4th birthday and my husband’s 30th.

“I can’t believe you are four years old today!” I enthusiastically said as I watched his toothless grin appear beneath the haze of his sleepy eyes.

He gripped his Curious George lovey and snuggled close as he began to transition from his sleepiness.

“But Mommy?” he asked urgently once he had time to gather his thoughts. “Do you still love me if I’m four?”

I hugged him tightly as I responded “Of course I still love you! I love you every day, all the time, and I will love you forever no matter what age you are!”

“You will love me even when I’m sixteen?”

“Yes, I will love you even when you’re sixteen. I will love you forever.”

We slowly transitioned out of bed, because just beyond our bedroom door in the beach house all of his uncles and aunts were waiting. It was our very first combined sibling beach trip and it was so much fun!

But there in the midst of the excitement, I found myself staring at my sweet four year old boy, who I remembered as a baby and in all his in-between stages until now.

And of course I will love him, no matter how old he gets, no matter what he does, no matter who he becomes.

A Happy Birthday to the love of my life, my sweet little four year old.

 

Celebrating four years at the beach

Celebrating four years at the beach

My 30 year old and my 4 year old.

My 30 year old and my 4 year old